Tim Ryan is a radio commentator for the San Francisco 49ers who has enjoyed a successful career in broadcasting after a brief stint as a linebacker in the NFL. After comments he made about the skin color of the an opposing team's quarterback this week, Ryan has been suspended by the 49ers.
On a radio show Monday, Ryan said Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was so savvy at faking handoffs because he had "dark skin with a dark football," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The remarks follow Sunday's game when the 49ers took the NFC's best record of 10-1 to face the Ravens, who had a 9-2 record going into the contest. Some NFL experts, and the game's TV announcers, billed it as a possible preview of this year's Super Bowl. The Ravens won the tight game, 20-17, in a driving rainstorm on a soggy field.
Jackson, one of the frontrunners for this year's NFL Most Valuable Player award, rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Some of the runs were designed rushes on play fakes, and some were Jackson scrambling from the pocket. Jackson finished with 105 passing yards and another touchdown by completing 14-of-23 attempts.
The next day is when Ryan went on KNBR's "Murph and Mac" via phone from Florida as the 49ers are en route to this weekend's game in New Orleans. This is when he made the comment.
"He's really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that thing," Ryan said. "I mean you literally could not see when he was in and out of the mesh point and if you're a half step slow on him in terms of your vision forget about it, he's out of the gate."
This prompted the 49ers to issue a statement about the suspension.
"We hold Tim to a high standard as a representative of our organization and he must be more thoughtful with his words. Tim has expressed remorse in a public statement and has also done so with us privately," the 49ers said. "We know Tim as a man of high integrity and are confident he will grow and learn from this experience."
Ryan followed up with his public apology and regret.
"I regret my choice of words in trying to describe the conditions of the game. Lamar Jackson is an MVP-caliber player and I respect him greatly. I want to sincerely apologize to him and anyone else I offended," Ryan told the Chronicle.
The 49ers have reportedly apologized to the Ravens organization.
Ryan, 52, played linebacker for the Chicago Bears from 1990-1993. He then covered NFL games for 12 years for Fox as an analyst before he became a radio commentator for the 49ers in 2014.